One of the latent concerns in any defensive drivers mind should be the ever present possibility that the car will suddenly lose power in the middle of the road.
The possibilities of this occurring are greatly reduced by properly maintaining a vehicle, nevertheless, traffic laws were designed with these scenarios in mind and by driving safe and reacting quickly, drivers can avoid many of the serious hazards car failure.
Following are some pointers to keep in mind, if your vehicle were to die on the road…
1. Stay Cool When you notice a malfunction try to reach the right shoulder of the road you are on in the safest manner. Put on your four-way directional signals and carefully make your way through the traffic.
2. Keep your hands snuggly on the steering wheel, when the engine dies the power steering goes out, meaning the control of the vehicle may suddenly become very difficult and the braking system may also require greater force to engage. In certain situations the emergency brake may be required to bring your vehicle to a halt before making impact.
3. Picking a Good Spot To Stop. Try not to stop your vehicle right after any curves in the road so let the car roll to a safe spot. ideally this is a spot where you can get out of your car without stepping into or even near any live traffic. When grinding to a halt try to leave the car in a place that can be freely accessed on all sides.
4. Stuck in the Middle of the road. You are unfortunate enough to have a stalled car in the middle of live traffic, stay in your vehicle and turn on your four way directionals and if it is dark the interior lights as well . If you think it is scary to have traffic piling up and you may even get the odd glance, climbing out of the car and attempting to dodge traffic is even worse.
5. Making Yourself Visible. It is very important to make your presence known. If you have found a good spot on the shoulder of the road and can step out of the vehicle, raising the hood of the car is the international signal for vehicular distress.
You can also fly white cloths or papers from the windows. Having a traffic cone or emergency signal on hand could save a life.
6. Flat tires are probably the most common reason a car will be forced to the side of the road, not including traffic cops. If you have a flat tire and are able to repair it yourself, you will still need to find a spot that allows you to make repairs without having to place yourself or your car near any lanes with moving traffic.
Remember that a tire can be ruined if your ride it flat for any extended distance; if your canít find a safe spot, don’t risk it ó wait for the patrol.
7. Out of Gas. Another common reason that cars can be halted on the road is the simple lack of go juice that can turn a gigantic paperweight into a moving vehicle. If you run out of gas, shift your car into neutral and head for the side of the road.
After making your vehicle as visible as possible, setting up safety cones if possible, you will need to get a bearing of your location in relation to the nearest source of fuel. Conserving the battery on your cellphone will be a good idea as a patrol car may take a while to get there depending on how heavy the traffic is.
Walking to the nearest fuel depot is an option but should only be attempted when the weather permits, the destination and direction are known and the shoes of the traveler are comfortable.
8. Accepting help. Many motorists will be more than glad to give a fellow motorist a ride to the nearest station and even back again. Trust your instincts before climbing into a car with a stranger, if a shifty-eyed character gives you a bad feeling just tell them that help is on the way and send them along.
9. Roadside Assistance. Before taking off to any regions where help will be scarce, it would be a good idea to take down the numbers for roadside assistance and keep them in the car. If you get stuck and it looks bad don’t hesitate to call 911.